All posts by mmcneill

A SnapChat survey about food and memory

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What did you do, and how did it go?

I interviewed people on the USC campus for a survey about food and memory. I asked two simple questions in this vox populi segment. The first question was, “What did you have for dinner last night?” The second question was, “What is your all-time favorite dish your mother made?” I was curious whether people had a more vivid memory about a recent meal or a dish with a deeper nostalgic connection.

What kinds of reporting assignments could you see yourself using something like SnapChat for?

I think the SnapChat format works great for vox populi reports. I could also see myself filming a creative b-roll collage to accompany a more traditional media report.

Is it about breaking news?

My report was not about breaking news but I think SnapChat has proven effective in reporting breaking stories around the world. The combination of mobility and immediacy is powerful.
Regular stories?

My story was more abnormal than regular.

Is it better suited for dramatic events or can it work for mundane things?

SnapChat seems well suited to tell a wide variety of stories. As Vince mentioned in our lecture hall, there are currently a billion SnapChats sent every day. I would imagine most of what of the content generated on SnapChat falls into the “mundane” category but even these clips can mean so much to the creators and recipients. It’s all about knowing your audience.

What did you learn from this assignment?

This was my first time using SnapChat. I mostly learned the dynamic of the interface in this exercise but look forward to experimenting with the service more in depth soon.

Skateboarding: Solace and community on four wheels

mcneill_voxpop
Young skateboarders in Los Angeles. Top row, left to right: Jonny Ordoñez, Boris Chavez and Rene Valle. Bottom row, left to right: Toebin Coleman, Leonardo Elisarraraz, Eze Molina, and Rodmahjai Scutter.

Intro:
Skateboarding is a youth culture staple. For many however it’s still an underground phenomenon. Mark McNeill hits the pavement with young skaters in Los Angeles to find out what motivates them.

Outro:
Messages from a group of skateboarders in Los Angeles who are finding community on four wheels.

An evolving adventurous spirit: Erin Germain

A tangle of limbs: branches, arms and legs hovers above a green lawn under the Southern California sky. Flesh skims tree bark, soon to blush into bruises that will become badges to mark this young, blond girl as an adventurer.

Erin Germain grew up in 1980s Oceanside, California, a diverse town kissed with sea air. A place where aircraft from the nearby military base frequently buzz the coast. Perched high in the backyard avocado trees Germain took it all in.

Her parents instilled an inquisitive spirit through rambling family road trips and generous stacks of books. Germain brokered a deal to graduate early from high school by writing a novel, about an adventurous girl looking for her place in the world. This achievement gave Germain confidence that extended to her media studies at Chico State University, from which she also graduated early.

Germain left for Chicago in 2003 to launch a career with “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Of her three-years as a researcher for the program, she says, “That curious side of me came out and I realized I was really good at research. It was like a puzzle and the puzzle wasn’t solved until you found the information you needed. Research is the biggest tool that has helped me succeed in everything else I’ve done in life.”

Germain went on to produce documentary, travel and talk shows for a variety of broadcast platforms: ABC, TLC, Discovery, BBC America, Yahoo, and Ovation.

Germain’s sandy blond hair lands in a casual bob above her shoulders and her eyes welcome engagement from behind red and black glasses. “I like doing nice things for good people. When you’re working with people who are doing interesting projects and have a really great story but also have something to gain out of the experience of telling their story, it’s nice to help them through that process,” she says.

In 2013 Germain founded For Example Media, a film production company that makes branded content features. She is proudest of their community focused projects, including establishing a computer lab for homeless youth and providing a child the tools to build a braille printer.

A similar intention influenced Germain’s ten-months of volunteer work teaching English in Ecuador. “I went in thinking I was going to make people’s lives better, and I came back realizing they had made my life better.”

Dedicated to crafting thoughtfully produced stories, Germain comes to the University of Southern California to join the graduate journalism class of 2016. With the zeal that once brought her to the top of the backyard trees, Germain continues to move up through the branches of life.

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An adventurous spirit evolving: Erin Germain

A tangle of limbs hover above a green lawn under the Southern California Sun. Flesh skims tree bark but has yet to blush into the bruises that will come, badges marking this young, blonde girl an adventurer.

Erin Germain grew up in 1980s Oceanside, CA a diverse town kissed with salty air. A place where aircraft from the nearby military base frequently buzz the coast.

Her parents instilled an inquisitive spirit in Germain that has not faded. Through rambling, family road trips and generous stacks of books she explored the world. She brokered a deal to graduate early from high school by writing a book of her own, a novel. This achievement gave Germain a sense of accomplishment that extended to her media studies at Chico State University where she also graduated early.

Germain left for Chicago in 2003 to launch her professional career working for “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Of her three-year stint as a researcher she says, “I had a strong shift while I was there and my curious side came out. Research is the biggest tool that has helped me succeed in everything else I’ve done in life. It makes you think about problem solving differently.”

With this bedrock she went on to produce films for a variety of major broadcast platforms: ABC, TLC, Discovery, BBC America, Yahoo and Ovation. The human interest angle resonates throughout Germain’s work. To this end, in 2013 she co-founded For Example Media, a production company focused on branded content features with a community focus.

Germain gets a thrill from helping people, “I like doing nice things for good people. When you’re working with people who are doing interesting projects and have a really great story but also have something to gain out of the experience of telling their story, it’s nice to help them through that process.”

A similar intention influenced her volunteer teaching efforts in Ecuador. “I went in thinking I was going to make people’s lives better and I came back realizing they had made my life better.” This experience has stuck with her, “Travelling is important for perspective. It’s about being more conscious.”

With a dedication to making a difference in people’s lives by crafting thoughtfully produced stories, Germain joins the University of Southern California’s graduate journalism class of 2016. She moves forward, bravely once again through the branches of life.

Erin Germain, a brand on the rise

Film producer Erin Germain joins the University of Southern California’s 2016 graduate journalism class to hone her storytelling craft. Germain, co-founder of Los Angeles-based production company For Example Media, is dedicated to creating humanistic, branded content. She says, “As a producer I am passionate about telling stories that educate, entertain and inspire people.”

Germain moved to Chicago from her native California in 2003 to launch her career. Her three year stint as a researcher for “The Oprah Winfrey Show” was formative. In a profile on Germain’s website she says, “It really taught me to think big.“

Her LinkedIn page confirms that following her time in Chicago, Germain continued to “think big,” dedicating ten months to volunteer teaching in Ecuador before producing work for ABC, TLC, Discovery, BBC America, Yahoo and Ovation. In 2013, Germain and longtime friend Jennifer Fernandes launched a branded content, production company For Example Media.

For Germain, interviews are the cornerstone of her work. On Tongal.com she highlights her process saying, “I genuinely love getting to know people, learning about their stories and then figuring out the best way to visually tell them on camera.” Now Erin Germain brings her passion for storytelling to USC.